Unbelievers, both during His presence on earth and today, usually perceive Christ as a man, or maybe a god-man, whose whole purpose was to offer sympathy to frail sinners.
He is seen as one Who, although gravely concerned with man’s sin, was unable to feel the sting of that sin because of His divinity.
This thinking, though rational to the blinded man, is inconsistent with Scripture. In fact, we know that Christ was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) in a very personal way.
He, as our high priest, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
His troubled soul knew with a perfect knowledge the awfulness of man’s depravity, yet that knowledge in no wise marred the impeccable character of Him who did always those things that pleased His Father. He was made like unto His brethren, “that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17), while at the same time He was truly God.
As the Substitute for sinners, He did not die with a distorted view of man’s sinfulness. Christ as the God-man, after entering himself into an all-knowing acquaintance with the depths of man’s pollution, laid down His sinless life with the imputed guilt of His sheep upon Him.
He really knew, experientially, those for whom he made atonement. He died as no other man could — perfect in His own character, but with absolute knowledge of that preponderance of men toward sin and unbelief. “…without controversy, great in the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (1 Timothy 3:16).
By Marvin Stalnaker